Saturday, August 20, 2005

Bali judge denies Corby sentence cut rumour

Bali judge denies Corby sentence cut rumour
By Indonesia correspondent Tim Palmer

The chief judge heading Bali's High Court says there is no truth to a rumour
that convicted drug smuggler Schapelle Corby is to have her sentence halved
at the end of her appeal.

Judge Made Lingga has told the ABC that no decision has been reached in the
appeal, but that the High Court did not plan any further hearings.

The chief judge was responding to reports in Australia that Corby's sentence
for smuggling marijuana was to be cut to 10 years, a rumour Foreign Minister
Alexander Downer said he had heard, but that Jakarta embassy staff had not

Judge Lingga said he had not reached a decision but, despite a further
request from Corby's lawyers, he did not plan to hold any further special
hearings to hear evidence by video link from Australia.

Lawyers for Corby have written to the Supreme Court in Jakarta asking them
to rule that Bali's High Court must open further hearings.

A spokesman for the Supreme Court said that was unlikely to happen, meaning
a decision on the appeal could be made within weeks.

Meanwhile, Mr Downer says the Indonesian President is disappointed with the
way a presidential decree has been used to reduce the prison sentence for
Muslim cleric Abu Bakir Bashir.

Mr Downer says President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has spoken of his
disappointment to Australia's Ambassador in Indonesia.

Bashir's 30-month sentence in connection with the Bali bombings has been
reduced by four months as part of an automatic review of prison terms on
Indonesia's independence day.

Mr Downer says President Yudhoyono has given a commitment to review the
legal process.

"I think all Australians have been upset about what has happened with the
remissions for people who've been associated with the Bali Bombings,
including Abu Bakir Bashir, who's the spiritual leader of Jemaah Islamiah,
which is the organisation behind the Bali bombings," he said.

"So the fact the President is upset about what's happened and the fact the
President has said he'll review this process of remissions is something we
very much welcome."

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